I have a small business, where we often do proposals in response to RFP's (Request for Proposal, aka, Request for bid/information/solution, invitation to bid, etc.)
These often have a myriad of sections - they want introductions, resume's, and their various appendixes, cover sheets, spreadsheets, timetables, and other stuff.
Managing this in Word, GoogleDocs, or other word processor is difficult.

I am looking for a simple (preferably free or really cheap) system where I can take documents of various formats (like fillable PDF or spreadsheets) and drop them in a certain order, then finally combine them all into one document, or document set for submission.

  • Page numbers, and a table of contents would be great.
  • OS is not relevant. I have Mac, Windows, Linux, and I have a web browser.

2 Answers 2


I would suggest taking a look at the Sphinx document generation system originally written to document python but it can be and is used extenensivly for other document generation.

With it you can store a set of sections, e.g. Team Member CVs in reStructuredText format and pull them together with a hierarchical structure from a single master page or toctree file with the order/structure as you need and then generate your final document. You can define and use document styles and produce output in any or all of:

  • HTML (including Windows HTML Help),
  • LaTeX (for printable PDF versions),
  • ePub,
  • Texinfo,
  • manual pages,
  • plain text

With extensive cross references, tables of content, index, etc.

  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform
  • Available free for commercial use BSD licence
  • Diagrams, plots and images can all be included.
  • Installed under python which is itself gratis, cross platform and usable for commercial use.

I would also suggest using a version control system such as Mercurial to allow you to store all of your versions of the specific pages while retaining the history of the changes.

  • 1
    +1 for mentioning a version control system. If the OP has so many documents part that he needs software to process it, he definitely needs version control.
    – user416
    Nov 24, 2016 at 11:26

At work we use dokuwiki. It is not perfect, but works.

I use the wiki daily. There is a WYSIWYG plugin (but I don't like it and don't use it).

You get a simple history for each page: You see who has edited the page at what time and you can show a diff.

You get fulltext search. Maybe not for the content of PDF files, but for the textual wiki content.

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